4 Ways to Make Your Cubicle More Private

Just about everyone wants a big office with nice furniture and an appealing view out panoramic windows, but few people get one. The standard workspace in the government sector is a cubicle, and they can rarely be described as big. A cubicle usually comes equipped with cheap furniture, and it seldom offers a window—with or without a nice view. 

Cubicles can best be described as semi-private. Co-workers generally have to make an effort to look into each others’ cubicles, but they can often catch peripheral glimpses as they pass by. Noises and smells are completely public, so flatulence and reheated salmon become everyone’s business.

So how do you make a semi-private workspace a little more private? Try some of these ideas

Face Your Monitor Away From the Entrance

Light coming from a cubicle in an empty office.
DreamPictures / Getty Images 

Your computer monitor shows everyone what you’re doing, whether it's legitimate business or something personal. Face it away from the entrance if you want to avoid having others' eyes what's on there. 

Your cubicle might be designed to have the computer placed in the corner opposite the entrance, so it's possible that you'll have to get a little creative with your monitor’s placement. A new arrangement might make working a little uncomfortable, so you have to decide as to what's more important to you: ergonomics or a little privacy.  

Place a Mirror So You Can See Behind You

No matter where you sit in your cubicle, something is going to be behind you. Ideally, it's a file cabinet, not an unwanted visitor. 

If you want to avoid unwanted surprises, place a mirror somewhere on your desk or wall where it lets you easily see behind you. This is especially important if your back is to the entrance. Your cubicle should be inviting to visitors, but you don’t want them startling you and you don't want to be unaware if they're unobtrusively checking out what you're doing each time they drop in on you.    

Use a Headset for Conference Calls and Webinars

Using a headset for conference calls and webinars serves two purposes. First, it prevents you from using the speakerphone feature on your desk phone. It maintains the privacy of your call’s content, and it prevents you from annoying your neighbors with long, distracting phone calls. 

Another good reason to use a headset is to save you from holding the phone’s handset to your head for extended periods of time on long or multiple calls. Think how comfortable that will be. 

Make Personal Calls From Another Area

Just about everyone has a cell phone so it's easy to divert personal calls away from your business line. If you have to make a personal call while you're at work, duck into a conference room or a vacant hallway. Your neighbors won't get to speculate about your next visit to the doctor, your automobile repair, or your handyman service. They don’t need to know that you bickered with your spouse over breakfast or that your son is in danger of flunking math—and in many cases, particularly with supervisors, they don’t want to know.  

It Doesn't Require Anything Drastic

Sure, you can drape your cubicle in a giant, oversize sheet or move that file cabinet in front of the door opening, but you don't want to come off as antisocial and you'll still need to get in and out of your workspace yourself. A few simple fixes and some rearranging should make life in a cubicle bearable, if not desirable. Make do while you have to and keep working away. Someday that corner office might be yours, breathtaking views and all.